How 3d Game Programming can Benefit the TeraGrid by ygq15756


									                                                                        curriculum that involves 3d which their student have a
         3d Game                                                        difficult time with that they felt could benefit from a
                                                                        game-based a learning module to be used in the high
     Programming as                                                     school computer lab.
                                                                        In physics, required topic selected from the California
    Service-Learning for                                                State Standards [4] is 5n.

                                                                        5n: Electric and Magnetic Phenomena
       CS Students
                                                                            Electric and magnetic phenomena are related and
1 INTRODUCTION                                                              have many practical applications. As a basis for
Several in high performance computing acknowledge                           understanding this concept: n Students know the
that we are “indebted to the gamers" for pushing the                        magnitude of the force on a moving particle (with
envelope on processor speed, graphics resolution and                        charge q) in a magnetic field is qvB sin(a), where a
rendering capabilities of the PC hardware that the HPC                      is the angle between v and B (v and B are the
community uses to build systems. This talk presents the                     magnitudes of vectors v and B, respectively), and
upper division, university curriculum that has been                         students use the right-hand rule to find the direction
developed over three years of teaching a topics class                       of this force.
that engages our current "raised digital" undergraduates
to demonstrate their creativity through programming a
game that can be used in alternate situations. This has
been deployed in a high school physics course to
demonstrate "Projectile Motion under Magnetic Force".
We propose that a game can be effectively created to
aid fire-fighters in San Diego run test scenarios
anticipating the next Santa Ana Fire-storm, which have
occurred during the fall season too frequently lately.


At San Diego State University, an NSF/OCI grant for
“Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure (EPIC)” [1] from                Meetings with Mr. Hal Cox of Hoover High, our student
the      National   Science      Foundation,    supported               game-programmers and the author resulted in a model
development of projects to explore how the commercial                   that used an over-sized C-Magnet to represent the
Game Engines might be used to support Science                           Magnetic Force. The goal is to fire a projectile at a
Education. Our effort resulted in a collaboration with the              target on the opposite side of the magnet, compensating
Visualization Services group at the San Diego                           for the influence of the magnetic force shown above. The
Supercomputer Center (SDSC), led by Steve Cutchin,                      undergraduates benefited from the opportunity to
convincing us that the Torque Game Engine (TGE) [2]                     develop for a “client” away from campus and learned a
would be an appropriate cross-platform game                             valuable lesson to view from the eyes of the client and
development technology. The pricing from the maker,                     change their terminology of “First Person Shooter” (FPS,
GarageGames of Eugene OR, was also attractive,                          the standard term in the industry) to “First Person Point
initially $100 / seat for a license, access to full source              of View”, showing respect for the 1999 tragedy at
code and membership in a vibrant user community that                    Columbine High School. To further remove the scenario
had been growing since 2000. The project is hosted on                   from a real-world “shooting”, the “player” is represented
the SDSC Game Grid [3], where you can download the                      by a green alien holding a crossbow. The “projectile” is
high school game called “The Physics Game”, as well as                  an arrow launched from this crossbow.
SDSC’s Science Exploratorium, the Astronomy Module
flying in space, Stonehenge as it looks today,
Stonehenge reconstructed, Stonehenge at night and an
Exploration to Antarctica,

EPIC funding provided the opportunity to collaborate
with two high school science teachers at Hoover High
School, geographically near SDSU. We challenged the
teachers to identify a concept in their state-specified

Kris Stewart, Computer Science Department, San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-7720,,
                                                               well be deep, but specialized to another skill set and
                                                               vocabulary. Brown also stressed the benefit of “learning
3 INFLUENCES                                                   in situ”, modeling the team approach for development
                                                               and critique within our classrooms. The SDSU 3d game
Balancing the influences on one’s own campus with the          programming course benefits from being scheduled in
vast professional world behind, two individuals whose          our Learning Research Studio [11] which has tables
work has greatly influenced the author need to be              seating 6 students, wirelessly connected PC notebook or
mentioned: John Seely Brown and Jean M. Twenge.                tablet computers for each student checked out at each
3.1 John Seely Brown                                           class meeting, two projector screens and an interactive,
                                                               touch-sensitive whiteboard that can be easily configured
3.1.1 The Gamer Disposition (14 February 2008)                 to take input from the instructor’s console or, using the
John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas [5] recently               remote-video/audio feed at each of the student tables,
described the impact of today’s multiplayer games as           from a student’s notebook computer. This models MIT’s
establishing five key attributes of the gamer disposition:     architecture studio promoted by Dr. Brown where all
                                                               work is done in public with many opportunities for
They are bottom-line oriented                                  critique and collaboration.
They understand the power of diversity
                                                               3.2 Jean M. Twenge – Generation Me (2006)
They thrive on change
They see learning as fun                                       Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University,
They marinate on the “edge”                                    Dr. Jean Twenge’s book Generation Me: Why Today’s
                                                               Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled
Based on teaching 3d Game Programming for three                – and more Miserable Than Ever Before is based on
years now, this also describes the attributes in our           extensive studies of categorical (survey) data examining
current SDSU CS undergraduates and faculty continue            the differences in generations.         The members of
to look for ways to capitalize on these traits.                Generation Me are the children of the Baby Boomers,
                                                               defined as the post World War II / pre Vietnan war
3.1.2 Growing Up Digital (March/April 2000)                    generation. They have been raised to have high self-
John Seely Brown’s article “Growing Up Digital: How the        esteem, though surveys reveal they feel their lives are
Web Changes Work, Education and the Ways People                controlled by outside forces, yielding apathy and
Learn” [6] had a profound impact on this author. January       cynicism.    In the United States, this generation has
18, 2005, Dr. Brown was invited to speak at San Diego          grown up with the Equality Revolution legally in place
State University by the Qualcomm Institute for Innovation      after four decades of marches, such as the 1965 Selma
and Educational Success [7]. Based on Dr. Brown’s              marches, which finally brought the Civil Rights Act of
background as Chief Scientist of Xerox PARC until April        1964. Members of Generation Me have been taught
2002, it looked to be useful to hear him speak, though         “equality”. They feel entitled, but without a strong sense
his 2000 article was not known to the author beforehand.       of duty.
The lecture was profound and transcripts are still
available from our campus, see reference above. This           Consider these findings and compare with the thoughts
led to the discovery of other articles Dr. Brown authored      of John Seely Bown, especially from Section 3.1 on
that caused the author to discover that although many          “Game Disposition”.
faculty, this author included, may be of the “analog
generation”, our current students “grew up digital” and        4 GAME PROGRAMMING IN CS CURRICULUM
this background must be acknowledged and built-upon            There is a growing recognition in the CS field that Game
in our pedagogy. Having a PhD based on research in             Programming can be targeted to serve as a large
Numerical Analysis and having built an IMSAI 8080              example of object-oriented programming and used as a
computer kit [8] in 1979 to do Masters degree research         basis for teaching a course in Software Engineering, a
with BASIC software for problem solving [9,10], only           required course at San Diego State Univeristy for all CS
gives the author a Green-card into this digital universe.      majors.     There is even textbook support for such
The author acknowledges that she still speaks with an          curriculum [12] and colleagues have curricula in place.
analog accent.
                                                               At San Diego State an undergraduate curriculum was
Key points learned from Dr. Brown are to learn to              developed and taught three times as a topics course,
capitalize on our students’ creativity by honoring the         which CS majors can use as an upper-division elective.
vernacular of this “multimedia-literate” generation. We        The formal curriculum for CS 583 3d Game
need to ensure we communicate complexity in a simple           Programming has been approved by all levels at the
fashion and, by this example, encourage our students to        university and will appear in the 2009/2010 General
develop this skill. Their future workplace is likely to have   Catalog.
them working in multidisciplinary teams and their
individual expertise will need to be communicated, and         To provide some background on this curriculum, we
valued, by other team members whose expertise may              focus on the student Learning Outcomes, below.
    1. Students use the large, complex software             [3] Game Grid, San Diego Supercomputer Center
       environment provided by the game engine to           (SDSC)
       develop their Object Oriented Programming
       skills through scripting.                            [4] California State Grades Nine Through Twelve –
                                                            Physics Science Content Standards
    2. Students develop communication skills through
       course exercises and assignments to be able to
       describe a complex software project to a variety     [5] John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas, “The Gamer
       of audiences.                                        Disposition”, Harvard Business Conversation Starter,
                                                            February 14, 2008
    3. Students work effectively as a member of a 
       group to create a software product.                  disposition.html

    4. Students learn the capabilities and                  [6] John Seely Brown, “Growing Up Digital: How the
       responsibilities of using the campus computer        Web Changes Work, Education and the Ways People
       network and computer labs.                           Learn”, Change, March/April 2000

5 PROPOSAL                                                  [7] John Seely Brown, “The Future of Education in a
                                                            Digital Age”, SDSU speech January 18, 2005. Transcript
Our next plan is to use the Microsoft XNA 2.0 game
environment to create a 3d representation of San Diego
county. We will overlay this with the road system and
collaborate with fire-fighters to develop an on-line
environment to help plan for first-responders actions       [8] IMSAI 8080 microcomputer, Wikipedia Reference,
during our next Santa Ana fire-storm event.       

                                                            [9] Kris Stewart, “The Microcomputer as a Tool in
ACKNOWLEDGMENT                                              Numerical Analysis”, ACM SIGNUM Users Group
The author wishes to thank the student programmers,         Conference, Albuquerque NM,
who designed the Physics Game, Skylar Hayes and   
John Nguyen. The two high school teachers who posed         stewart.pdf?key1=1057546&key2=7969876021&coll=por
our original 3d problems, Robert North and Hal Cox,         tal&dl=ACM&CFID=15151515&CFTOKEN=6184618
showed mastery of their disciplines and provided
essential insight into what might work for their students   [10] K. Stewart, Master’s Project at SDSU, 1979. Code
at Hoover High School. Steve Cutchin, at the San Diego      archived at NIST through collaboration with David
Supercomputer Center, provided support for hosting our      Kahaner. SCRUNCH = Small Crunch – A Numerical
Torque game and we appreciate his continued support.        Analysis Library in Basic for the Intel 8080 with Z80
Davey Jackson at GarageGames helped with arranging          floating point processor computer. (Note, this was prior
our Academic License for the course that evolved from       to the IBM PC based on the 8086 chipset).
the absolutely essential financial support from the
National Science Foundation in 2005 for the EPIC
Cyberinfrastructure Grant 520146. The visit by Dr. John     [11] ITS Learning Research Studio, AH1112 at San
Seely Brown to the SDSU campus January 18, 2005,            Diego State University
and his continued writings continue to inspire and guide
this author. The students at SDSU have continued to
impress the author as they provide honest, thoughtful       [12] John P. Flynt and Omar Salen, Software
feedback on the course that culminates this work.           Engineering for Game Developers, Thomson Course
                                                            Technology, Boston MA, 2005.

[1] Engaging People in Cyberinfrastructure (EPIC)
National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of
Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) grant start in 2005

[2] Torque Game Engine, GarageGames, Eugene OR

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